Despite the diminishing daylight hours, Denmark is anything but gloomy at Christmastime and Copenhagen‘s famous Tivoli gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland, with a Christmas carnival, an ice palace and a vibrant light show over the Tivoli Lake. Admire the twinkling Christmas lights on Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street, Straget; take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the picturesque Kronborg Castle and wander the shimmering Nyhavn canal with a glass of glogg (mulled wine with cinnamon, raisins and almonds) and a bag of freshly baked ebleskiver (apple dumplings).
Read more about Christmas in Denmark
18. Medellin, Colombia
Colombia might not be first on your list of festive destinations, but the unassuming town of Medellin is home to one of the world’s most spectacular lightshows – a month long carnival drawing revelers from all over the world. Over 16 million lights twinkle from the city skyline throughout December and early January, with pyrotechnic light displays over the Santa Elena River, rainbow colored water fountains, lively street parties and a giant 79-foot Christmas tree.
Read more about holiday markets in Sweden
20. San Francisco
San Francisco is up for a party at any time of the year, but come the holiday season, the celebrations are electric. Ice skate beneath the 83-foot Christmas tree in Union Square; add a symbolic origami paper plane to the World Tree of Hope at City Hall; check out the lights in the tree-lined Huntington Park and along the historic Picardy Drive; or take the kids to visit the infamous Tom and Jerry tree on 21st street.